IL-10 has been shown to have profound immunoregulatory attributes and in the bovine appears to downregulate both Th1- and Th2-like responses. Using RT-PCR, we demonstrate IL-10 in vitro down-regulation of mRNA expression of iNOS, the cytokines involved in nitric oxide signal transduction initiation (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha), and other mononuclear phagocyte associate cytokines. In addition, using RT-PCR with peripheral blood leukocytes and spleen leukocytes, the Griess reaction, and a killing assay, we provide evidence for the importance of iNOS in a successful immune response to B. bovis infection and for high and persistent IL-10 mRNA expression when the immune response is unsuccessful. We also provide evidence that antibody developed early after an initial infection appears to lack protective attributes (neutralizing and opsonic). Together, the data suggests that IL-10 and IFN-gamma are critical molecules involved in the response to this intraerythrocytic protozoan infection.